Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Art outside of the Museum

If you haven't heard of it before, it's called "culture-jamming", and it's one of the more fascinating arts emerging in culture today. Above, you'll find a lovely little painting that has had a habit of popping up in art galleries or within the halls of large-scale media headquarters. To the left, you'll see one of a fine example: a "remixed" version of Paris Hilton's last album...just a glimpse at the front cover, and one can immediately tell that there's a noticable difference in the attitude generated. Over 500 copies of these CDs were covertly distributed through music shops across London.

There's no need for longer introduction, as the man behind this elaborate prank is possible the greatest culture-jammer in the known world, whose identity has yet to been uncovered: Banksy

He is a world-renowned artist whose mysterious origins began with in the early 2000's with recognizable graffiti stencils in the United Kingdom. His exploits have grown across oceans. His work can be seen in London, Edinburgh, Madrid, New York, the West Bank barrier, Mexico, Los Angeles, and Disneyland.

There's not much for me to say about this artist except that I find what he has to do rather incredibly amusing and moving. His use of a "real world" canvas is truly unique, in that he hadn't received permission to make his mark. Even more enjoyable are the messages that his art leaves upon it's viewer, and whether they be dreadful or simply humorous. Police hate him, but his use of quick-draw stencils and late night painting has left him practically undetectable.

As much a fan as I am of Banksy and the whole "culture-jamming" movement, I would certainly hope that this sort of art remains outside the clutches of the commerical realm as long as possible. As any quick-thinking marketer will tell you, subversion can be a fantastic advertising theme: There's a large market of people who'd like to think that buy buying a product, they are circumventing the tightly-regulated system of society (i.e. Sprite). Even more depressing is the fact that someday, it could be extremely difficult to tell whether there is a real human message in such efforts, or if it's all just a ploy to get it's viewers to buy or live in accordance to a corporation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Group Projects: A life-long hell

I would’ve thought that group projects would’ve been an activity left behind in middle school, but lo and behold, it’s shown it’s twisted head in my Online Writing college class.
I simply hate group projects, and our class today was certainly exemplified the amount of learning and time wasted by working with three other individuals who are just as apathetic, tired and miserable as you are.
We had to pick a website, then analyze the site using ten “agreed upon” criteria points. It was pretty quickly established that everyone in the group had listed the exact same kinds of criteria on their blogs, so we went ahead with a rather hilariously crappy website.
Not exactly sure what to do, we forged ahead, wrote out an introduction, and applied two pieces of the criteria to the site. It was time-consuming, but rather simple.
After criteria point #2, I went to the bathroom. By the time I had come back, the group had decided on doing a completely different website, reason being that the other site would’ve been repetitive in each of the categorical points. No one had the foresight to point this out before we had spent a good 4/5ths of our allotted time writing out this one part of our analysis. Even more enjoyable was the fact that two of my group members started lightly bickering with each other over completely unrelated shit, wasting more time and there was little me and the other group mate could do.
Looking around the room at the time, and seeing other groups sitting before their computers in a dull silence was even more annoying. Discussion, so it seems, is few and in-between in these group settings, and everyone feels uncomfortable in completely expressing themselves.
The whole idea of peer review is pointless: Despite everything that’s been said about human kindness, it’s rather shitty knowing that my grade will be (partly) determined by other students in my group, who could easily mark me down if I make a suggestion they don’t like or do not speak as often as they do.
Honestly, I’d much rather write out such a project all by myself. If I hadn’t learned yet how to work within a group environment by the time I applied for college, then I wouldn’t be in college. I certainly hope group projects that I’ll inevitably deal with in the future feel more structured and contain more students who actually give a shit then the busy-work dribble I’ve had to put up with in Writing Online.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday’s editorial of The Rocky Mountain Collegian broke it down into four simple words:
Taser this…FUCK BUSH

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle

Massive now is the story of 21-year-old college student Andrew Meyer, who was arrested and tasered during a town hall forum featuring John Kerry. Upon reading the various accounts of the story that have emerged, and watching the YouTube video, I’ve come to two very different conclusions about the incident:

-This kid was an arrogant jackass who completely deserved having his mic cut off. With his ranting non-stop list of questions, he was going over the time granted to him, and cutting into the opportunity of others to ask their questions. In that sense, he was denying them their freedom of speech. I doubt he was immediately being arrested when the two officers first moved in on him, only when resisted against them in the back of the room did they have to be more forceful. When he got zapped, I really couldn’t help but chuckle, just by the way he cried. He had the aura of an asshole, and the cops responded procedurally. People shouldn’t be so quick to claim that his freedom of speech was being violated when it’s difficult to tell what exactly happened. People shouldn’t place complete and total faith in a YouTube video.

-The taser is the only thing that makes this story a national sensation and not just some second page article for the local newspaper. Time and time again I hear that the kid had already had been put in handcuffs by the time the officers used the taser on him. Yes, he had been warned that he would be tasered if he continued to resist. It’s really impossible to tell if he had continued to resist, but by that point, I still doubt the tasering was necessary when they had him in cuffs, and being that there were at least four officers on him, it would’ve been easy to carry him out of the room. He still seemed to struggle against them as they ushered him out. Also, even if he is found guilty of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, it should be sensible that the charge of inciting a riot will be dropped. He called out for help and asked if the crowd “was seeing what was happening.”
Even everyone’s favorite conservative blowhole Bill O’Reilly agrees that the tasering was just a bit much (fast forward to 5:10, watch until the end of the video.) Not that anything that O'Reilly spews out of his mouth is worth giving any sort of credit to, but the irony just hit me like a electric volt to the chest!

Yes, I used a taser joke. From this moment on till a couple of months or so, the taser will recieve more attention than any other tool on a policeman's belt, even more than the fucking gun. It'll become a staple of American culture. I think it’s pretty safe to say that “Don’t tase me bro!” will be remembered as the catchphrase of 2007.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Your guide to writing on the Internet

I didn’t think I’d have to write anymore blogs this weekend, other than the previous two “independent” posts. Of course, that wasn’t the case, as I discovered this morning. So, about internet writing…this shouldn’t be too hard to cover. Among the many important things to consider in internet writing, these are the top five:

1) Prim and proper: The only way to achieve internet credibility in your writing is to maintain a sense of proper spelling and grammar, maybe even a few sophisticated wording here and there. That way, people won’t imagine a TV-obsessed fatso when they read what you’ve written, and you’re a lot less likely to get made fun of.

2) Fun and laid back: For some, it’s far too easy to come off as a pretentious asshole unless you keep track of yourself now and then, especially if you’re an English or philosophy major/degree-holder who actually enjoys reading literature prior to the 20th century. If you throw out obscure allusions, using pompous speech, you’ll be immediately regarded as worthless, ESPECIALLY if it’s discovered that you don’t understand the very things you are writing about.

3) Keep it simple, stupid: Keep things in neat chunks of text. Don’t forget the instantaneous effectiveness of the picture, a device that says a billion words when used on the internet. No one wants to read a block of text that’s longer than their pointer finger, that’s the way it goes.

4) No internet poetry: Simply put, don’t post poetry on the internet. Much like painting a picture using dog shit, you might think you’re being edgy by displaying your poetry on the internet, but everyone will know that it is still shit, no matter how much symbolism you’ve managed to stuff in there. The internet has such an effect on poetry, unfortunately.

5) Remember, this is the INTERNET: You might enjoy reading the insightful viewpoints of some web user from Ghana, and decide the world would be better off with some detailed happenings from your own perspective. While this can’t stimulate growth within one’s self, never should an internet writer expect to be taken seriously. There is a damn good reason that certain writing is “internet-exclusive” and not printed for all the world to see when they really don’t care to. Sorry, but unless you’re making death threats to the public safety or our glorious President-Leader, then no one will take what you have to say with utter seriousness, unless it’s your employer who doesn’t approve of your internet mischief, in which case just make sure your internet alias is as untraceable as possible.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Calling All Creepers

Last month, Rolling Stone released the article: “'To Catch a Predator': The New American Witch Hunt for Dangerous Pedophiles”
The article displays a, at the very least, interesting suggestion: Is this wildly-popular program is nothing more than a slimy unethical grab for ratings?
This article dances quite the fine line between objectivity and mere sensationalism, portraying both sides of the coin in the murky grey waters between good and evil. Simply put, by the end of this article, one won’t be able to decide if cheering for Chris Hansen is a bad thing.
They cite the falsified stats used by the show, its fear-mongering techniques, and the harsh life pedophiles have to deal with following their bust (damned forever to a national registry complete with personal information is a typical punishment.)
I have to applaud Rolling Stone for presenting another viewpoint for the millions who’d be so easily to accept that these men are just plain evil, just as Dateline presents them to be.
That said, I really don’t think there’s a single thing that’d make me feel sorry for a pedophile. There is no excuse for being such a sick son-of-a-bitch.
I’ll admit, reading the article made me feel a little sorry for these guys who just fucked up their entire lives within the span of a single afternoon. They can only sit it out now and wait until 10-15 years later when the show is long forgotten if they ever hope to find a decent job or get a girlfriend ever again, and it’ll still haunt them till the day they die.
But I stand by my belief that better their life fucked up than the life of a child, or in some cases, multiple children. There’s no way to spin it otherwise; children who are sexually abused come out with some sort of terrible problem, be it mental or sexual. It’s just unbelievably cruel to deny a child of their innocence like that.
While I think “To Catch A Predator” has run it’s course and should leave such busts to professional law enforcement, I can’t say it that it had a negative effect on our culture. For all the child-lovers out there struggling with their inner desires, the show will probably scare them into silence for many years to come. There are better ways to deal with such a problem then scarring the life of a child forever.

Friday, September 14, 2007

NCAA First Two weeks

While it seems like at least one completely crazy thing happens once every season in College Football, it seems like it’s just been one thing after another from my perspective.
CSU’s overtime loss to CU was a heartbreaker, but one’s got to expect that when dealing with such an intense rivalry. Why this game doesn’t get national coverage is beyond me; those damn east coast network bigwigs don’t seem to gave a damn about the mountain states. Honestly- it is extremely rare to hear an announcer give us the “Mountain Time” of a broadcast…always with the “Eastern, Central, and Pacific”, but never (so it seems) Mountain! It seems like a petty thing to complain about, but really, at least Colorado deserves some credit.
The ones calling the shots at the networks are straight-up ignorant when it comes to selecting games for national television. Seriously…there were a couple matches of powerhouse teams playing FCS teams on national broadcast while there were thunderously exciting matches going on between schools who weren’t exactly powerhouses, but were by no means bad. Fortunately, we got to witness one extremely insane upset, but there’s a strong chance that’ll happen again in at least 50 years. And yet the network heads will still show these first week burnouts that only the purest of fans will actually bother to watch.
And a week passes, and we see a match-up of Oregon against Houston, and the most unbelievable part of the game occurred on the sidelines.
I can only imagine whoever was dressed up as the Oregon Duck must have been completely shitfaced, and the heat was getting to him…just seeing him mosey up to the Houston Cougar like gives complete credit to my suspicion. The cougar gets a little testy, sure, but when the duck is on him like that, he doesn’t even bother to fight back! What have mascots come to these days when they won’t even bother to fight back against the other mascot, especially when said mascot is being slammed into the other mascot’s crotch. I would’ve been ashamed to see CAM take such shit. Even ESPN analysts were able to call out the Houston Cougar like that.
So, ultimately, I have to give credit to Oregon’s duck. Sure, his career as a mascot may be over, and if he really wanted to pick a fight with another mascot, he could’ve picked a much more worthy opponent (Stanford’s Tree, anyone?) Despite all of this, he still managed to snag YouTube glory, and there certainly is nothing childish about that.
I'm hoping for something to top these two events this week. Here's hoping Ralphie breaks out his pen and gores Cody Hawkins three minutes into the first quarter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reflection on Facebook articles and "Decline and Fall of the Private Life"

Summary: Articles one, two, and three all focus on the concept of an internet lacking in privacy, and the consequences of posting without discretion.

I feel more confident giving a more general response to all three blogs, because they all, basically, focus on the same thing. I had read the first article before, and even reading it now, I still find the idea of seeing some chubby-cheeked freshman prominently post his crazed rush onto the football field, a trip he carefully chronicled to make sure everyone knew he had been out there too, and then receive a visit from campus police three days later. After his academic hearing suspended from the university for a year, I could see him running out of the conference room screaming about the violation of all of his amendment rights and that the police really were. Really, that is a fucking fantastic image.
Granted, I’d be pretty pissed if that had happened to me. If CSU beat a team like Ohio State, I could easily see myself following the surging crowd onto the field. But even before this article came out, I knew the consequences of letting my mischief be documented by camera or videotape. The temptation to do so, though, would be incredibly difficult to avoid.
As presented in both articles #2 and #3, personal websites are ENTIRELY about image for those who frequently access them. As much as these websites are useful to building a cyber-network and expressing oneself, I really can’t imagine any other reason for people to spend time crafting their profile in a way so that they appear exactly the way they want to appear.
Facebook is the essential example: One’s profile picture can say a million words, so one must make sure it says every single word they want others to hear. Look at the photos of people prominently displayed with his’/her’s significant other, fully embracing each other for the photo to prove without a shadow of a doubt that they are a real couple. For me, it just seems to scream “LOOK HERE I AM WITH ANOTHER WHOM IM BANGING EVERY OTHER NIGHT, I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND, IM NOT WORTHLESS AFTER ALL.”
Then there are the profile pictures that you can tell have had quite a lot of careful planning. Most of the time, such photos have been digitally altered, with overlapping color layers or use of sepia coloring or special shading. For me, people spend such time on photos so they can create an “artsy” image.
Without wanting to drag on too long, I’d also like to point out that when someone uploads their profile picture of an image other than themselves (such as a movie/cartoon character or sports logo or their baby picture), I’d say 75% of the time, they have some sort of self-image problem. Note that I’m not saying this is the case all of the time, but being one who has a handful of ugly friends, they seem to be very careful about what kind of image they want to use to portray them without actually using their face.
As for me, I’ll often resort to goofy pictures of myself for my profile picture in the hopes that people will associate me with funny and/or laid-back and/or unique. Having held my previous theories, these images must seem like they haven’t been posed for, so others won’t suspect me going out of my way to create an image for myself. It’s impossible for me to imagine others not doing the same, whatever kind of image they want to project.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Reflection on "Techno idiot" articles and Digital Divide

Summary: The first article was a report on the new concern that students are information illiterates, based on professor observations and testing results. The article listed educators’ suggestions for improvement, including hiring certified librarians who could pass down their info-literate skills to students, as well as making info-literacy courses a part of core curriculum at universities.
The second article was a response to a multitude of articles touching upon info-literacy (the article above included), suggesting that educators were responsible for teaching students how to examine information critically, and that the method of teaching this needed an upgrade from focusing on textbooks to focusing on websites.
The Wikipedia entry featured the “digital divide” term, its meanings and origins. The article also contained a view of the digital divide in a global setting, and listed arguments for the need to improve information accessibility to those who need it.

Response: I don’t think it’s possible to take on all three articles at once, as they represent two different topics, despite the parallels.
The articles, I found, both support the idea that it’s essential for students to obtain info-literacy, and it’s an opinion I completely agree with. Having existed within this realm of students during this Information Age, I’ve come across at least a few examples of fellow students being unable to avoid the inaccuracies spotted across their information sources, and unable to detect sources that portray opinion as fact. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that this was the case with articles I have written in the past either. From my memory, the idea of critically examining internet sources didn’t really surface until mid-junior high, or even until early high school. I was pleased with the suggestion of requiring info-literacy courses for university students; I would hope CSU administrators would already be prepared to address that need. My only complaint lies with the first article; I felt the reporter had done a mediocre job in giving the reader details in the definition of info-literacy provided. “The ability to use technology to solve information problems”… what is meant by this? I’m left to figure it out on my own.
I was pretty disappointed that our third reading assignment was a Wikipedia entry, especially when it’s topped with a blue box that blares “This section does not cite any references or sources.” Complaints aside, I suppose I hadn’t really realized the severe disadvantage faced for one who is unable to access the internet. The arguments listed for the importance of bridging the digital divide focus on that idea that with access to information, growth and an improved quality of life can be more easily achieved.
One thought that occurred to me when reading this entry was the idea of complete information access being just as necessary. There are a number of entertainment websites that I’ve come across that boast about having had their page banned from the servers of a certain country. From my understanding, this is applied mostly to countries in Southern Asia and the Middle East. China acts as a notorious example: banning websites, deleting posts, and censoring search engines. Following the bridging of the digital divide gap, I would a movement to end such censorship would take form, if it hasn’t already.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Flail on

A disturbing new trend in YouTube these days is the homemade music video. This is not to say that music artists are using handheld cameras to do their own work, but rather, thousands of douchebag take an artist’s work and make their own music video with the song dubbed over. Never has this ever produced something worth watching, yet I have scourged the YouTube shit-o-sphere to bring you, the reader, some idea of how bad it really can get.

Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
Here we have a “creative” attempt by three teenagers (including one visibly disheartened banjo-playing girl), featuring audio synched to a slideshow rather than flowing video. You have to wait for a little while before the actual music kicks in, and suddenly we’re treated to one guy thrashing around as if he just downed his entire bottle of Ritalin with a Red Bull. The only reason this video is exemplified in this post is because of his overly-flamboyant personality, the kid that probably got picked on a lot early in life. Like many people who reach out to the internet for attention and perhaps even understanding, our vest-sporting friend is among the many whom I’d like to take a baseball bat too. Is that unnecessary violence? I’d like to think not.

Somebody's Watching Me
Do you ever find yourself watching a YouTube video, wondering if it’s a homemade music video? Using simple logistics, I’ve managed to create a formula that accurately deciphers the difference between a normal YouTube video, and the homemade music video. If you are what you are watching contains at least three features described below, you are, in fact, watching a homemade music video. As an example, I’ve used this formula for this particular video.
-Long, overdrawn intro? Check
-Shaky camera? Check
-Desperate grasp at comedic effect using shitty 80’s song? Check
-Cast composed of mildly autistic teenagers? Check
-Pointless lip-synch attempt? Check
-Severe lack of female presence? Check

Chocolate Rain
For all those who prefer to spend their time socializing and exercising and getting grades rather than spend hours and hours on the internet, I bring you “Chocolate Rain”, an original song and, as of recently, a massive internet phenomenon! This still counts as a homemade music video, because even though the guy is actually singing the song (so I’m told), it shows just how frightening this world can get. This little shit actually got featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he sat before a live-studio crowd and sung his song, complete with creepy stare and square-rim glasses. Fast forward to the last minute of the video, and Jimmy gives our friend some time to bring out the human behind the alien, even though I continue to be a skeptic.


If you were a super hero, what would be your super power?
I would love to have the ability to look into the face of my enemy and find their darkest secret, and in turn, use it against them. In theory, every human being holds some really low secret, something that they have nightmares about, or maybe something they've completely blocked out of their minds. I'd dress up with a oversized blue robe, and strap on a giant plastic eye ball that would be centered on my forehead. The eye would act as some kind of symbol of my power of limited but far-reaching insight, and I'd be known as "The Eye-Cologist." I would've gone with Cy-Cologist, but there's already a bike shop in Fort Collins that uses that name, and for me originality is a must.
Here are some situations in which my power would be more useful than any kind of flight or heat vision:
-A robber robs from a bank, gets a cool mil into his pillow sack, and runs towards the door, laughing with delight. Suddenly, the Eye-Cologist steps out from behind some giant pillar, blocking the entrance.
Out would come the glock, which he'd wave in my face, telling me if I like my brains in my skull, I'll get out of his way. But already, I have penetrated his mind, and from it ripped the one thing he's been hiding for his whole life.
"So, you're gay?" I'd say, loudly enough so that the terrified people on the floor could hear. He'd be taken aback a bit, not sure how to respond, having been accused of this for the first time in his life. Of course, I'd use his own pulsating homophobia against him.
"Not that it's a big deal," I'd say. "I know a lot of people who are gay, it's a pretty normal thing these days. I've got a couple of friends who are gay, nothing to be ashamed about, no one cares."
He'd snicker, telling me about all of the chicks he's banged in his 25 years of life.
I'd smile and say "Come on dude. I've seen 'Brokeback Mountain'. I'm guessing you're a particular fan of doggystyle, huh? A little too much of fan though. You'd feel a whole lot better if you just came out with it."
And it would go on like this for a couple more minutes, the guy'd be getting angrier as we continued our conversation, but before he decides to jus kill me, we hear "FREEZE POLICE", and I'd jump back behind the pillar and the cops would open fire and hopefully none of the people lying on the floor would get shot up, but the robber would have no chance.
The great thing is, there really is a variety of dark horrible secrets that one could pull out on a bad guy and keep him from finishing his evil plans:
-"Wait. You broke that puppy's neck on PURPOSE? That's really fucked up dude, I mean, really fucked up."
-"Your dad molested you too? Whoa...WHILE grandad was watching? I'm sorry dude, no one should go through that."
-"Ever heard that Phil Collins song about the guy who watches some other guy drown, and he doesn't do anything to help, he just stands there and watches the other guy drown? I bet you can identify with that one, huh? You make me sick."

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reflection on "Technomania"

Summary: The internet revolution is here, according to Steven Levy, and it means people have the ability to reach farther and expand their abilities and personalities farther than ever possible before for the ordinary person. But this means clutter, and this means transitions, some of which will require time for people to become fully accustomed to. Such technology is decentralizing, and needs to be keep in check, balanced out with order from those in power, who will certainly fall if they’re unable to do so. Also discussed are the issues of privacy, free speech, education, and reality and their current roles in the internet.

Response: I enjoyed Levy’s practical and objective observations on the status of such important subjects and their potential altering with the arrival of the internet.
The whole concept of order and chaos battling out over the internet was one I suppose I hadn’t given much in-depth thought to until now. I was pleased to see that Levy was able to break it down in such a way that he didn’t give any sort of approving nods to either the holders of power nor to the teenage anarchists, but rather showed the clashing relationship and the potential that lies in wait. In my own opinion, I have difficulty believing that the internet does not have boundaries that a user is forbidden to step into. This thought sort of merges with the whole privacy vs. surveillance argument (as well as his observation of the free speech battle) Levy touched upon; investigators can track down the information they need to bust down on some unknowing child pornographer. It would not surprise me if it became nearly impossible to hide from the government in the folds of the internet.
The last paragraph, detailing Negroponte’s theory of atoms and bits is absolutely fascinating when applied to how dramatically the very way of human life might be changing is unsettling, something I never truly contemplated. I still believe that a life void of human contact is unachievable, and will be until we become mentally enslaved by machines, but the idea of co-existing between the reality we know and this “second dimension” of cyberspace is something I believe is already taking place.

Reflection on "The Internet? Bah!"

Summary: In his stirring 1995 Newsweek piece, Clifford Stoll claims that we will come to know and depend on the internet as some predict. Stoll argues that the laptop screen will never replace a book, and that the raw information feeds of the World Wide Web will render online research unusable. Technology, Stoll says, will never replace human contact.

Response: It’s a little pleasing to read this article, a piece that didn’t stand true to the test of time even though it’s a little over than a decade old. It’s like reading those far-flung rare writings criticizing the idea of aerial transportation, or those suggesting humanity in slavery.
I don’t think Stoll really could’ve seen what would’ve happened, what tools would’ve been offered, and just how easy everything could’ve been. I do believe, however, he should’ve spent more time piecing together more examples to support some of his statements.
The idea of buying books and getting your news online? “Uh, sure,” Stoll writes, walking away from this sudden statement, forgoing any kind of logic to fuel his argument. This, in my opinion, accented the ignorance we witness when we look back on this article.
No Stoll, the internet does not do as much business as your mall does in 1995, but there’s no reason for you to believe that there could be any number of factors that shift the scale. At the very least, you should’ve acknowledged that this was the internet in its extremely early prime, that it had finally become something an ordinary person could access.
Stoll didn’t want to compromise, didn’t want to acknowledge that technology could make a great teacher’s education experience ever better. Or, in the cases of bad teachers, more important.
I have faith that Stoll is right in that nothing we can produce with our hands will ever match pure human contact, that no virtual reality, no matter how detailed and realistic, will replace those that surround us. In today’s day and age, most humans would struggle to survive without the dependency of others. We still need food, water, health care, sex, and all those other encounters that make us feel alive.
But unlike Stoll, I’m far too cowardly to predict that human contact would never willingly be replaced with artificial simulation. Who knows the number of pale monstrosities spending their lives locked at a computer, taking their online universities, chatting with their World of Warcraft friends online, ordering their pizza and Pepsi without having to speak a single word, and indulging themselves in the bottomless sea of porn that can make all of their misery go away for a couple of hours.

Relfection on "We Are The Web"

Summary: In this article, author Kevin Kelley gives us glimpses of the internet’s timeline thus far: past, present, and future. Kelley starts off recalling the early days of the internet, his experience in watching it begin to rise from the ground and the heavy amount of criticism/pessimism the internet faced in the mid-1990’s. Kelley continues by recalling the growth of the internet since then, represented in the amount of tools we have at our dispense now, as well as the audience’s newfound ability to make their own entertainment. Kelley continues on into the near future, tossing out the varied theories of the intellectual community about what lies ahead in the world wide web: a community without consumers, of a solitary computer running the internet, and the extinction of the familiar desktop.

Response: As much as I enjoyed the glimpses of Internet’s past Kelley provided, I was turned off by his masturbatory personality that popped in and out of his writing early on in the article, describing his personal instance with ABC, who didn’t listen to his “dire” warning of purchasing a domain URL as soon as possible.
The matter-of-fact tone he used when describing the foolishness of those who doubted the internet’s arrival seemed unprofessional for a writer who was attempting a critical analysis of the internet timeline, as can be seen here:
“Where's Cliff Stoll, the guy who said the Internet was baloney and online catalogs humbug? He has a little online store where he sells handcrafted Klein bottles.”
You can almost hear Kelley’s nasally giggling as he punches the keys: “I sure showed them.”
But I cannot deny this article provided some interesting insight for a college student who really didn’t give a shit when the internet first emerged.
The idea of some massive, hive-minded “god” computer somewhat surprised me, offered an idea that I never really thought could be applied to the internet, a web built by millions of small hard drives and their sole supporters. Kelley undoubtedly expresses excitement over the idea that our entire world connection, and perhaps even our own hard drives and computer systems, will come to depend entirely on a single eclipsing machine, of which we would view through our monitors. Kelley describes its growth, comparing it to the neural pathways of a brain, always growing with every incident, or in the case of this massive machine, every click.
When Kelley mentioned that this machine would take to recognize human faces with the millions of postings and name links, my feeling of concern first blossomed. When he continued, talking about how such a device would make decisions about what the human race wanted, based on what we search for, the true horrifying image came about: could such a machine achieve self-awareness? With such capabilities and a information shower that never ceased, James Cameron movies have made me see such a machine as nothing but evil incarnate, a being fully uniting the world before completely deleting every connection and every user for the sake of it’s own magnificent survival.
Or perhaps Kelley's optimistic prediction will be fulfilled, and the super-machine will win Time Magazine's "Person of the Year", and families will skip the Grand Canyon just to go see the great black box of information.